President Mubarak of Egypt called Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert to warn him a potential humanitarian crisis was looming in Gaza due to closure of entry points. Olmert told visiting Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxine Verhagen, that Hamas has deliberately provoked the crisis and Israel is “trying to hit only those involved in terrorism, but also signaling to the population in Gaza that it cannot be free from responsiblity for this situation.” Israel’s Defense Ministry told Gazans they could turn to Egypt if there is need for food and other supplies, and insists the area is obtaining at least 70% of its normal electrical needs.
Telling civilians they can halt military action is hardly sound advice. People are terrified that assisting Israel forces will result in punishment from those involved in terrorism. Part of the problem in Gaza is the failure of freezing oout Hamas leaders from any involvement in peace negotiations by both President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Civilians can not turn around Hama leaders, that can only occur when Arab nations exert pressure upon Hamas leaders. The first step is getting Hamas involved in negotiations because they will have to deal with Arab leaders rather than standing apart from the peace process. As Winston Churchill once said, “Jaw, jaw, not war, war.”